Archive for March, 2018

#WhatsUpAtGRACE March 27, 2018

While we’ve had a slow start to spring weather, if the forecast can be trusted, the end of our freezing temperatures is in sight! Right now, they are forecasting 73º for tomorrow – that will be a welcome change! We hope you all have a wonderful Easter Break and are able to enjoy warmer temperatures, time with your family, and the celebration of our risen Savior.

The March 27, 2018 #WhatsUpAtGRACE Newsletter includes information about:

  • The “after-spring-break” book fair on the lower campus
  • The high school prom (and a link to purchase tickets)
  • An announcement about the new Assistant Principal on the lower campus
  • Fun pictures from last week’s snow, a 3rd grade book club event, the library dedication, and the ACSI regional spelling bee
  • Opportunities for community service (this week)
  • Instructions on how to purchase the class pictures taken yesterday

If you missed a previous edition of the weekly newsletter, they are all posted in GRACE News on the GRACE website. Keep up to date with all future events by consulting the GRACE Calendar.

Staff Spotlight: Lynnae Morris

While Lynnae Morris may be a relatively new face on the GRACE administrative team, she is certainly not new to education. As a an only child growing up in King, North Carolina, Lynnae “absolutely LOVED school” which, she says, may be why she spent so many years in school and chose education as a career for herself. In the ten years prior to her arrival at GRACE, Lynnae worked in school administration at both elementary and middle schools in Durham and Wake counties and brings tremendous knowledge and experience to the GRACE team.

Lynnae received her undergraduate degree in science education from UNC-Chapel Hill as part of their Teaching Fellows Program and taught high school science for five years after graduating. While some may live in a house divided, Lynnae could be described as a person divided as she later earned both her masters and doctorate degrees in science education from NC State. During this time, she taught undergraduate science labs, worked with student teachers, and intended on becoming a college professor. Lynnae met her husband, DeShannon, while at NC State and they started their family as she was finishing up her PhD. Later, Lynnae returned to Carolina in their Principal Fellows Program and earned her masters in school administration.When asked which school has her loyalty, Lynnae was quick to respond “Go HEELS!”

Lynnae shares that her journey to GRACE started a few years ago when God first brought her husband here to coach basketball, then to teach.  The following year, they enrolled their three children, Hannah, Kynndal, and Colinn. Then, last year, He made His plan clear to Lynnae and made a way for her gifts to be used to serve Him at GRACE. Lynnae shares that she loves working within a community of believers, and feels fortunate to be able to share her faith freely at work, something that has not always been possible. Lynnae views her work as an educator as a calling rather than as a job and believes that God equipped her for her responsibilities and expects her to use them to advance His kingdom and glorify His Name.

When asked to share her favorite Bible verse, Lynnae quoted Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid… for the Lord your God… will never leave you nor forsake you.”  This verse serves as a reminder that God wants us to be bold in Him.  He is always with us, so there is no need to be fearful of any situation or circumstance with which we may be faced.  Lynnae believes that one of the best ways to serve God is to serve others. She learned this lesson from her parents as she observed them constantly looking for ways to give back to the church, to their local community, and to individuals in need. Her parents taught Lynnae the value of service at a young age and she and her husband desire to instill this in their own children as well.

Lynnae was asked to share what she enjoys the most about her role at GRACE, In response, she said, “The thing I love most is connecting with the children and their families.  My favorite part of the day is morning carpool, when I get to welcome everyone coming into the building.  Relationships are really important to me, and I always find joy in knowing that I have made a difference in the life of a child.  Children need to feel welcome and loved at school in order to learn, and I enjoy finding new ways to make that happen!   I also enjoy building relationships with the staff and love finding creative ways to highlight and best utilize the God-given talents that they all bring to our school and community.”

Lynnae is an avid sports fan and has been for as long as she can remember. She played a variety of sports growing up including playing softball for Carolina. When asked what her favorite sport is, she stated that basketball has always been her favorite. Given that she is married to GRACE’s varsity basketball coach, and her daughter is on the varsity girl’s team, she’s glad she loves the game so much as she spends a lot of time courtside.


Serve With the Miracle League

The Miracle League of the Triangle has ongoing opportunities for students 12 years old and older to serve throughout the spring and summer.  To sign up for a shift, just click here and enter your volunteer account login information.

If you are a first time volunteer, please read through the information below so you are up to date on the guidelines and activities of the Miracle League of the Triangle.

  • All “first-time” volunteers must attend a buddy training once before going onto the field. Buddy Training takes place BEFORE every shift so please ARRIVE 15 MINUTES EARLY for your shift.
  • ALL Volunteers please check in at Volunteer Registration before each shift.  If you have a regularly assigned player to assist or are a registered team buddy please continue to check at Volunteer Registration each game.
  • Cell phones, IPODs, pagers, food, gum, and drinks are not allowed on the field or in the dugouts.
  • No pets please. Only identifiable service animals are allowed.
  • If you are coming to the field as a part of a volunteer group for a shift do NOT sign up on line. Only sign-up online if you are coming independently.
  • If you are going to be specific player’s buddy all season you must request that player online at least 24 hours before the game.  Please be sure to hit the “Volunteer for Games” button on the last screen to complete the process.
  • For the safety of everyone on the field, only volunteers age of 12 yrs. and older will be allowed on the field. 

Spring Book Fair 2018

The GRACE “After Spring Break” Book Fair will be held from Monday, April 9th through Friday, April 13th in the Kathie Thompson Library on the Lower Campus each day.

Dates & Times

Students will preview books on Monday, April 9th. They will attend the book fair with their class and create a wish list to take home. With their teacher’s permission, they can return later in the week to make their purchase.

The book fair will be open for parents, grandparents, and students (with teacher permission) for shopping on the following days:

  • Tuesday, April 10th, 8:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wednesday, April 11th, 8:00am – 3:30pm
  • Thursday, April 12th, 8:00am – 5:00pm
  • Friday, April 13th, 8:00am – 3:30pm

Special Guests on Thursday Afternoon

On Thursday, April 12th, from 3:30pm – 5:00pm, GRACE art teacher Merrily Boyd talking about the process of illustrating her picture book, SleepSinging and we will have local author, Mr. J.S. Davey will be reading and signing his picture books:

  • The Lion’s Pride
  • The Fox Hole
  • The Big Cat Spat
  • A Cheesy Book

Learn more about Mr. Davey at

Summer Reading, Teacher Wish Lists, and Book Bucks

At the book fair, books on the 2018 Lower Campus Summer Reading List will be available to purchase. Additionally, teacher wish lists will be available as will “Book Bucks” that you can purchase for your favorite teacher!

#WhatsUpAtGRACE March 20, 2018

Happy first day of spring (even if the weather/temperature isn’t cooperating)! The March 20, 2018 #WhatsUpAtGRACE Newsletter includes lots of invitations:

  • All high school students are invited to attend the 2018 Prom
  • Parents and students are invited to attend this Friday’s Catan tournament
  • Parents and older students are invited to Kathie Thompson’s retirement party

Also included is a link to the Amazon Smile page for GRACE. If you have not already designated GRACE as your charity, and you do so before the end of this month, Amazon will triple their donation to us on your first purchase. This is an easy way to support GRACE!

The newsletter also has updates on the recent lower campus book drive, last week’s upper campus Community Service Day, art competition winners and a new GRACE family member.

If you missed a previous edition of the weekly newsletter, they are all posted in GRACE News on the GRACE website. Keep up to date with all future events by consulting the GRACE Calendar.

Staff Spotlight: Jenny Bomgardner

On the upper campus, you are most likely to find Jenny Bomgardner in the lab, blowing things up (in the name of science, of course), sitting in a cardboard chair (made by a physics student), or drinking coffee.

Jenny graduated from NC State University in 2006 with a major in physics and a minor in Japanese, and in the “I just graduated from college and I’m applying everywhere” phase, GRACE was one of the places she applied. Two years later, she was working at Wachovia Mortgage and decided she would be willing to accept a much lower salary if it would mean doing what God wanted her to do. The very next day, she received a call from GRACE as her resume had “somehow” surfaced after two years on file. As Jenny explains it, “Coincidence? I think not! God literally called me to GRACE!” Since coming to GRACE, Jenny has earned her Master of Arts in teaching from Liberty University as well as her NC, VA, and ACSI teaching licenses for secondary math and science.

When asked to share what she enjoys most about teaching, she replied, “I love teaching teenagers because they’re questioning what they’ve been told all of their lives and are really looking for the truth of things while also trying to figure out who God wants them to become.” Jenny considers it a privilege to lend “even one iota” of wisdom to them figuring out the answers to their questions. In her own words, “it’s really cool” to be part of the process.” In fact, the relationships that she develops with her students are the most important and rewarding part of teaching; getting to teach subjects she loves is, “icing on the cake.”

Jenny wants students to get that religion is about developing your relationship with God and not about acting better than you are. She also wants them to understand that you can work hard and have fun at the same time, that money won’t make you happy (even if you have a lot), and that people are more important than things. She encourages her students to develop and work with the gifts God has given them and promises them that using their gifts the way God intended will give them the most joy!

Jenny grew up in Florida as an only child and spent part of almost every day at the beach. She’s always had pets – sometimes as many as four or five dogs at a time as her stepmom showed and later fostered Doberman Pincers. Currently Jenny and her husband, Matt, are proud parents to a dog named Snickers and a Guinea Pig named Maggie and expecting to add a human to that mixture soon.

You might think that someone who majored in physics in college would only be interested in math/science things, but during her own high school years, Jenny was very involved in theatre behind the scenes. She recalls that in the final show she worked on, The Sound of Music she was both stage managing and in charge of set design. She admits that it was a bit of an over-commitment, but it was one of the most enjoyable things she recalls having ever done. She had, at that point, decided that she wasn’t willing to do technical theatre for a living because of the requirement to work nights and weekends. In that final show, she remembers soaking in every moment. As it turned out, these skills did not go completely unused in college as she got hired (and paid!) to do technical work at Stewart Theatre at NCSU while she was enrolled as a student. Even though it wasn’t much, she had fun designing and running lights for a few more years.

Jenny would not describe herself as a sports enthusiast in the traditional sense of the word, but she does really enjoy watching esports (that’s right, video game competitions) and is more of a fan of esports teams than she will ever be of any football or hockey team. She even went to watch an MLG tournament in Raleigh and got pictures with her favorite esports players at the time!

As a couple, Jenny and Matt support the Raleigh Rescue Mission as they feel strongly called to support those in their own city who need food and shelter. Knowing that their contributions go straight to feeding hungry people is important to them. When asked to quote her favorite Bible verse, Jenny quoted Zechariah 8:16-17, “Fear not; These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgements that are true and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another and love no false oath.” Jenny explains that she leans on these verses as a simple summary of what God expects and it’s comforting when it seems like there are many expectations of her from many different sources.

State Art Winners 2018

Congratulations to the nine GRACE artists who placed in the GFWC State Art Competition.  This is the final GFWC Art Competition and includes the best artworks from the State of North Carolina.  All contestants in the State Competition had advanced by previously placing first or second in the Raleigh Competition and the District VI Competition.   What an accomplishment!

  • Lela Arruza – 1st place Paper Craft
  • Lela Arruza – 2nd place Nature Craft
  • Hannah Billings – 1st place Dye Craft
  • Erica Epperly – 2nd place Creative Stitchery
  • Rachael Litavecz – 1st place Creative Stitchery
  • Olivia Payne – 3rd place Wood Craft
  • Sofia Pinzauti – 2nd place Glass Craft
  • Sofia Pinzauti – 2nd place Metal Craft
  • Hannah Swecker – 1st place Beadwork
[ngg_images source=”galleries” container_ids=”64″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_basic_thumbnails” override_thumbnail_settings=”0″ thumbnail_width=”120″ thumbnail_height=”90″ thumbnail_crop=”1″ images_per_page=”20″ number_of_columns=”0″ ajax_pagination=”0″ show_all_in_lightbox=”0″ use_imagebrowser_effect=”0″ show_slideshow_link=”1″ slideshow_link_text=”[Show slideshow]” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]

#WhatsUpAtGRACE March 13, 2018

We hope everyone enjoyed our spring snowstorm and the extra two hours of sleep this morning. The March 13, 2018 #WhatsUpAtGRACE newsletter includes pictures from events last week and updates on both the ACSI festivals and the charity events held last Friday.

Also included is a link to the Amazon Smile page for GRACE. If you have not already designated GRACE as your charity, and you do so before the end of this month, Amazon will triple their donation to us on your first purchase. This is an easy way to support GRACE!

If you missed a previous edition of the weekly newsletter, they are all posted in GRACE News on the GRACE website. Keep up to date with all future events by consulting the GRACE Calendar.

ACSI 2018 Festival Results

Congratulations to the many GRACE students who participated in the ACSI Festivals and Competitions on March 9, 2018.



  • Arruza, Lela – Origami butterfly
  • Azamar, Kiara – Zentangles
  • Billings, Hannah – Scratch monkey
  • Brady, John Thomas – Monochromatic Winter Painting
  • Ditcheos, Liz – Silk resist shell
  • Gower, Chloe – Dream catcher paper quilling
  • Grinstead, Lexi – Photograph
  • Hoyle, Jessica – Self-portrait
  • Kelley, Morgan – Photograph
  • Morrison, Caleb – Clay head cookie jar
  • Pinzauti, Sofia – Skull drawing
  • Pittman, Avana – String Art
  • Rhoads, Madison – Pop art self-portrait
  • Robinson, Kathryn – Photograph
  • Russell, Madison – Scratch animal
  • Saenz, Samantha – Cubist self-portrait
  • Sharda, Rebecca – Photograph
  • Taylor, Sophie – “Walk Worthy” zentangle
  • Zechman, Madie – Zentangle self-portrait


  • Bandy, David – Candy colored pencil drawing
  • Brooks, Kitty – “Falling for Foreshortening” drawing
  • Carlson, Melanie –Stormy Seas
  • Chase, Maddie – Photograph
  • Collier, Sage – Monochromatic Winter Painting
  • Deguzman, Lea – NC Wildlife Drawing
  • DiCicco, Drew – Monochromatic Winter Painting
  • Drake, Kelsey – Panda paper quilling
  • Fetterolf, Hannah – Clay mouse whistle
  • Fontaine, Taylor – String art
  • Graham, Calise – Impressionist Landscape
  • Hardy, Elise – “Stained Glass” Snow Globe
  • Hess, Mason – NC Wildlife Drawing
  • Jenkins, Jackie – NC Wildlife Drawing
  • Kamal, Anastasia – Impressionist Landscape
  • Lanning, Avry – “Falling for Foreshortening” drawing
  • Lehmann, Kate – NC Wildlife Drawing
  • Litavecz, Rachael – Pointillism Barney Fife
  • McNair, Ellie – Colored pencil strawberries
  • Mendez, Ava – Dinsaur Whistle
  • Null, Anna Beth – “Falling for Foreshortening” drawing
  • Nunnery, Presley – “Stained Glass” Snow Globe
  • Olive, Lydia – “Stained Glass” Snow Globe
  • Payne, Olivia – Cactus cookie jar
  • Plantan, Sloan – Impressionist Landscape
  • Porter, Danielle – Clay mouse bank
  • Riggs, Piper – Impressionist Landscape
  • Robinson, Elle – “Walk Worthy” zentangle
  • Rutledge, Lily – Clay lantern
  • Saenz, Christina – Silk resist umbrella
  • Smith, Jackson – “Stained Glass” Snow Globe
  • Smith, McLain – “Stained Glass” Snow Globe
  • Solomon, Lucas – “Walk Worthy” zentangle
  • Stewart, Zoe – String art
  • Storum, Claire – Gifaffe Silhouette
  • Swecker, Elijah – Photograph
  • Swecker, Hannah – Plaster mask
  • Taylor, Briana – “Walk Worthy” zentangle
  • Taylor, Sophie – Abstraction (from Blind Contour Drawing)
  • Tew, Addison – Monochromatic Winter Painting
  • Usher, Julia – “Stained Glass” Snow Globe
  • Walters, Patrick – “Stained Glass” Snow Globe
  • Walters, Will – String art
  • Williamson, Ashleigh – Candy colored pencil drawing
  • Wingerd, Caroline – Giraffe beads


  • Bradshaw, Nathan – Impressionist Landscape
  • Church, Molly – Clay lantern
  • Guiggio, Lena – “Walk Worthy” zentangle
  • Jenkins, Ava – Monochromatic Winter Painting
  • Kulinski, Olivia – Rain paper quilling
  • McKinley, Kate – Monochromatic Winter Painting
  • Moore, Paige – Self-Portrait in Ornament
  • Moss, Lily – Impressionist Landscape
  • Neira, Addy – Monochromatic Winter Painting
  • Rice, Alex – Abstraction (from Blind Contour Drawing)
  • Smith, Dillon – NC Wildlife Drawing
  • Straight, Morgan – Self-Portrait in Ornament
  • Robinson, Elle – Abstraction (from Blind Contour Drawing)
  • Taylor, Briana – Abstraction (from Blind Contour Drawing)


  • 6th Grade Band – Excellent
  • 7th/8th Grade Band – Excellent
  • High School Band – Excellent
  • High School Brass Ensemble – Excellent
  • Percussion Ensemble – Excellent

Creative Writing



Math Olympics

  • Garrison Rose – 2nd place, 3rd Grade Computation
  • Colin Morris – 2nd place, 3rd Grade Reasoning
  • Julie Rakitine – 2nd place, 6th Grade Reasoning
  • Anna Garrett – 3rd place (TIE), 6th Grade Computation
  • Caralyn Woodworth – 4th place (TIE), 3rd Grade Computation
  • Aurora Harris – 4th place (TIE), 3rd Grade Computation
  • Noah Solomon – 4th place (TIE), 8th Grade Reasoning
  • Micah Solomon – 5th place, 3rd Grade Reasoning
  • Sage Collier – 5th place, 5th Grade Computation


Speech Meet


  • Grayson Farless (9th) – Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Joshua Murray (12th) – Impromptu Speaking (also gave speech at the awards ceremony)


  • Vivian Jia (10th) – Original Oratory
  • Joshua Smith (9th) – Humorous Interpretation
  • Jonathan Cameron-Chileshe (10th) – Dramatic Interpretation

Vocal Ensemble

  • 6th Grade Vocal Ensemble—Superior
  • 7th/8th Grade Vocal Ensemble–Superior
  • High School Vocal Ensemble–Superior


Staff Spotlight: Melissa Hendges

Melissa Hendges joined the GRACE community in 2005 when her oldest child started kindergarten. She joined the staff in 2008 and since then, every visitor to the lower campus has been buzzed in and greeted by Melissa. Melissa was delighted when this job became available as it allowed her to be on the same schedule as her kids and stay involved in their school lives.  She shares that God made it very clear to her that she was supposed to be at GRACE and He has made it clear recently that she is supposed to stay, at least for a while!  Melissa loves her job as it gives her the opportunity to meet so many GRACE families. She shares that in her role, she tries hard to shine the light of Jesus to all who come through our doors.  

Melissa is not only a North Carolina native, she is a Wake County native! She grew up in Apex, graduated from Apex High School, and attended Salem Baptist Church for over 35 years. Melissa’s only brother is the pastor at Kennebec Baptist Church in Angier and this is where she now attends and serves in youth ministry. Melissa teachers the girls high school Sunday School class and has hosted an in-home Bible study with them as well.  Her prayer is that she can be an adult in their lives that they feel comfortable talking with and someone who can encourage them to grow in their faith in Christ.

Melissa met her first husband, Greg Douglas, at Salem Baptist and when he passed at a young age, Psalm 139:16 is a verse that brought her peace, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  She shares that this verse reminded her that God was not surprised by Greg’s death and that there was nothing she or the doctors could have done to change the timing. Melissa is now married to Kevin Hendges (who she met at Kennebec) and their four children, ranging from 6th-12th grade, all attend GRACE.

When asked to share memories of her childhood, Melissa was quick to name her grandparents’ farm in Elizabeth City.  She states, “It wasn’t my favorite place to be when I was a teenager, but when I was young I loved being able to play with the chickens and see the cows and pigs.”  More than the farm animals though, Melissa loved the time she spent with her grandmother and describes her as an “amazing woman.”  Melissa remembers many times seeing her kneeling by the sofa or her bed in prayer and is thankful to have been brought up in a Christian home and to have had two sets of very godly grandparents. As an adult, Melissa sought out her grandmother for advice, knowing that she would listen and give godly counsel. 

When asked how she spends her time outside of GRACE, Melissa was quick to name sewing and running. She has had a sewing business since 2003, which started more by accident than anything.  She had decided to make some home décor items for her home when she couldn’t find what she liked in the stores.  Then, several of her friends asked her to make items for them.  After doing this a few times, one of her friends encouraged Melissa to start her own business.  At the time, Melissa was a stay-at-home mom and it was a perfect way for her to help with the family finances. She attended a week-long school to learn the “industry standard” for home décor products and she has been sewing professionally since then. Melissa loves being able to help people make their vision for their homes a reality and gives God all the glory for gifting her with this talent.

In her own middle and high school years, Melissa was passionate about the performing arts not athletics and was much more likely to be found on a stage than on the track. About six years ago she was walking for exercise, decided that the walking wasn’t quite enough of a work out, and started to jog. She decided that jogging wasn’t so bad and began to extend her time and distance. The day she jogged 6.7 miles, she decided to train for a half marathon! Her first half marathon was not a great experience, but she describes her second half marathon as “amazing.” Always one to progress to the next level, training for a marathon became her next goal and crossing the finish line after her first marathon was a huge accomplishment! A GRACE colleague gave her a book about the Boston Marathon and after finishing the book, Melissa had her next goal in sight. For 16 weeks, she ran 13-20+ miles every Saturday, and woke up at 4:30am four times a week so she could train before coming to work at GRACE. 

At the 2016 Myrtle Beach Marathon, she crossed the finish line in just under 3 hours and 52 minutes which allowed her to qualify for the Boston Marathon. She shares that running in the Boston Marathon was one of the most gratifying things she has ever done and also the hardest she has ever worked to meet a goal.